Barre for Every Booty - By Lynne Fendall

Back in December, I decided that for my New Year’s resolution, I was going to try something new each month in 2014.  Something that takes me out of my comfort zone.  For January, I decided to take my first barre fitness class.

It took me 4-weeks before I actually walked through the door.  4-weeks of stressing out about how much I would embarrass myself.  Would they all notice that the last dance class I took was nearly 35-years ago and that I have no idea what comes after 2nd position?  What if I can’t even get my leg on the barre?  I am only 5’3” after all.  Is it cool that my workout attire is from Target and not Lululemon? 

Here I am approaching 40, and the thought of trying a barre class had me absolutely terrified.  I had no idea of what to expect.  I have heard about these classes and how amazing they are for developing core strength and creating long, lean lines in your body…like a dancer. I am neither long nor lean, and last I checked, I had two left feet.  I haven’t wanted to look at my “core” since before the birth of my son, 11-years ago.

But this past Saturday, I picked up a girlfriend, and we went to Barre 101.  The class was held in a beautiful historic building with exposed brick and original hardwood floors.  It was very intimate and inviting.  As we walked in, I felt a bit more at ease, but not completely.

Once we were signed in we entered the studio.  I noticed the class was full.  Great.  As we gathered our mat and weights I overheard a couple regulars whisper that our substitute instructor was one of the “toughest”.  Awesome. 

Only one wall had mirrors so I quickly snatched up some real estate out of my own view.  It was bad enough others were going to see me struggle through this one-hour class.  I certainly didn’t need to watch.

Once the class was ready, our instructor cued the music for our warm up.  Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” began to blare and it was at that point I started to relax. 

I can do this.

My posture was only corrected twice by the instructor and I am happy to report that I was not the first person to drop my arms even though my shoulders felt as though someone was holding a flame thrower to them.  I held my plank almost the entire time and dropped to my knees only after the second set of push-ups. At the barre, my legs began to shake just as the oddly appropriate Katy Perry song “Roar” filled the room, and I found myself fighting the urge to sing along…loudly.

“I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire, cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar.”

From this experience I learned that you don’t have to be a dancer to participate and enjoy barre classes.  You may even find that your turnout isn’t half bad and that you can plié with the best of them.  The work out is amazing.  It combines stretching, strength training, and yoga and you end up being sore in muscles you never knew you had.  The kind of sore that has you craving for more.

More importantly, I realized that even at 39, it’s never too late to step out of your box and face your fears.  We are never too old, overweight, or inexperienced to seize opportunities to become better versions of ourselves.   As long as we resist the urge to give up on things that make us feel uncomfortable, we can aspire for greatness.

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By Lynne Fendall: ATF Blog Contributor